Hong Kong man outraged as taxi fare from Sheung Shui to Kowloon Bay hits HK$480, refuses to pay full amount

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18th June 2024 – (Hong Kong) A taxi ride from Sheung Shui to the Kowloonbay International Trade & Exhibition Centre transformed into a costly ordeal that sparked outrage and a spirited discussion about taxi routing practices. The incident, which occurred on a busy Friday morning, has since ignited a debate on passenger rights and the responsibilities of taxi drivers in the city.

The journey began typically enough at 9.30am when a local resident, referred to here as the passenger, boarded a taxi at the MTR Sheung Shui Station. The destination was the bustling Kowloonbay International Trade & Exhibition Centre, a trip that usually costs around HK$280 to HK$300. However, this ride was anything but ordinary.

Instead of the direct route one might expect, the taxi driver took a detour that would lead them on a bewildering tour of the area. The initial leg of the journey went from Sheung Shui to Fanling, and then, inexplicably, the taxi headed towards Man Kam To — a route that significantly deviated from the expected path. The passenger, preoccupied with work on his mobile phone, only realised the anomaly upon recognising the surroundings near Man Kam To, a location far off the direct route to Kowloon Bay.

Upon confronting the driver about the unusual route, the response was vague, only adding to the passenger’s frustration. The taxi then looped back to Sheung Shui before finally heading towards the Lion Rock Tunnel, a more familiar and direct route to Kowloon Bay. By this time, the taxi meter was already showing an alarming HK$187, well over the usual fare for the entire trip.

The situation escalated as the taxi entered Kowloon Bay. Instead of proceeding directly to the exhibition centre, the driver took another detour via Prince Edward Road, further inflating the fare. By the time the taxi reached its destination, the meter read a staggering HK$479.6 — nearly double the expected cost.

The resolution of this unexpected journey was as dramatic as the ride itself. The passenger contacted a friend who owned a taxi license to negotiate with the driver. This intervention led to a police report, and eventually, a compromise was reached where the passenger agreed to pay HK$300, acknowledging the part of the journey that was correctly routed.

This incident swiftly moved from a personal inconvenience to a public spectacle as the passenger shared his experience on the Facebook group “Friends of North District,” which includes residents from Sheung Shui, Fanling, Sha Tau Kok, and Ta Kwu Ling. The post garnered significant attention, sparking a mix of sympathy, outrage, and scepticism from the online community.

Comments on the post reflected a broad spectrum of opinions, from outright support for the passenger to questions about why the route deviation was not challenged sooner. Some speculated that recent rain might have justified a detour, but the consensus leaned towards criticism of the driver’s choices.